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The fine art of fire dropping

The Life Less Traveled

September 04, 2013
I make it a general rule in life to stop my car for any of the following: 1. Cute, furry animals crossing the road. 2. The "hot and ready" sign at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. 3. People juggling fire.  

I just added number three to the list.

I was on my way home from work Saturday night when my wife asked me to drop by the grocery store and pick up a few things. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I looked over and saw a handful of people gathered near the entrance to the adjacent bookstore.

A man stood in front of the crowd clutching three flaming torches. He was just holding them, but I had a pretty good idea what was about to happen. No way was I going to miss this.

I whipped my car into a parking space, ran up and grabbed a seat. Just as I arrived, he started flinging torches into the air. He juggled the fiery pins with an ease like he'd done it a thousand times before. I'm guessing he had. That's not exactly a skill you pick up overnight.

But then he decided to get fancy and lob one way above his head before catching it. Or should I say trying to catch it? He misjudged the throw, and the torches came down like a house of cards.

I was pretty excited about watching a guy juggle fire. But watching a guy drop fire? Even better. Not that I wanted to see carnage, but this was the chance to find out how good he really was.

My juggling friend handled it like a pro. He dodged the flaming missiles, laughed it off and picked them right back up again. The way I figure it, there are probably a lot of people who can juggle fire, but dropping fire without getting burned, that's something special.

It's kind of like that for all of us. Anybody can look like they have it all together when life is going their way, but how do we react when things fall apart? How do we recover when we make a mistake or when tragedy rains from the sky like the juggler's wayward torches?

A wise king named Solomon once wrote, "The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again." (Prov. 24:16 NLT)

How is it that people who walk with God can get back up when life falls apart? It's not because of any moral superiority. It's also not because their struggles and mistakes are any less severe.

It's simply because they have someone to help them rise again. They have someone to protect them from the fire.

No matter how badly you've blown it this week, no matter how many mistakes you've made, no matter how much heartache you've endured, God can help. Whether you've tripped seven times or seven thousand times, God can help you get back up. From anything.

So, if the sky is falling this week, turn to God. He'd love to help you pick up the pieces and start again.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more, visit www.jasonbyerly.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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